“It doesn’t look like a hospital and there is discretion”: report at Chanteau alcohol treatment center, near Orléans

A cat sleeps curled up on an armchair in one of the activity rooms. He’s been hanging out there since Christmas. It is almost the only soul that lives in this center for the recovery of alcoholism, Paul-Cézanne, in Chanteau.

The patients returned home after a Covid cluster. A first. The day and night nurses take the opportunity to meet and discuss.

In this branch of the Daumézon public mental health institute, patients suffering from alcoholism are welcomed. They come for a few days or weeks (12 beds are open), for two five-day weaning sessions or a four-week course. Or simply in a day hospital.

The center has 8 rooms and 12 beds. Photo Pascal Proust

An old inn

This former inn, known as La Cochonnerie, as seen in an old black and white photo from 1907, later became a restaurant. The building adjoins fields. She is pleasant in many ways.

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“Patients appreciate the quiet side. We do qi gong in the garden. In the spring, there are flowers in the yard. It doesn’t look like a hospital, and there is discretion. You certainly won’t meet a neighbor here.” explains Gaëlle Lefaucheux, the health manager.

The head of health, Gaëlle Lefaucheux. Photo Pascal Proust

One hundred patients are welcomed there every year, from all over the department, even from Blois and the Paris region. All are volunteers and called by their first name to guarantee a certain anonymity.

“We only do free hospitalization. We are closed at the weekend: they return to their families and are confronted with reality. It is part of the therapy. It is an opportunity to implement the tools learned at the center.

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Every week, a completely new admissions committee assesses the patients’ motivation and therefore rejects certain files.

A living room for watching TV. Photo Pascal Proust

A dedicated and multidisciplinary team takes care of them, consisting mainly of doctors, nurses, carers, psychologists, social workers, psychotherapists and dieticians. The position as psychiatrist is vacant. Like any spa, this one has a specific line of work. “Here we use cognitive behavioral therapy, which aims to value the feelings, to help them keep their abstinence goals, to build a toolbox for them.”

“The effects on sleep can be seen quickly”

In addition to medical support, many workshops are planned: Sophrology, heart connection, dance… And meals are taken together.

“It resocializes them. Similarly, we only allow cell phones between 5 and 9 p.m. so they don’t get contaminated and focus again on themselves and treatments. We also insist on the importance of sleeping at night. The effects on sleep can quickly seen. They experience that you can laugh without a product, regain self-confidence and a better lifestyle.”

The dining room, where meals are eaten together, to resocialize the patients. Photo Pascal Proust

The nurses assure us: the patients come out “physically recovered. They look better, they are less tired and smile more”. Even if some relapse and come back. “Their journey is never linear…”

Useful numbers
Cézanne spa center for advice/info:
Psychiatric emergencies in Daumézon in case of crisis:

Marie Guibal


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